A bunch of pukes
that fought before
Stu Grimson
Chris Nilan
Jim — what’s? — Thomson.
The reason that
they’re drinkin’ drugs alcoholic
because they fight.
You turncoats.
You hypocrites.
There’s one thing I’m not,
it’s a hypocrite.
You guys.
You were fighters.
And now you don’t want guys
to make
the same living
you did.

Don Cherry, 2011

To the people across Canada:
we tried, we gave it our best.

And ah for the people that boo us
I’m really
— all of us guys are really disheartened and we’re disillusioned and we’re disappointed in some of the people. We cannot believe the bad press we’ve got, ahhh, the booing we’ve gotten in our own buildings. And if, if the Russians boo their, their players, if the fans, the Russians boo their players like some of the Canadian fans — I’m not saying all of them — some of them booed us — then I’ll come back and I’ll apologize to each one of the Canadians.

But I don’t think they will.

I’m really, really — I’m really disappointed, I cannot believe it. Some of our guys are really, really down in the dumps.
We know,
we’re trying, like hell,
I mean,
we’re doing the best we can,
they got a good team
and let’s
face facts.

But ah it doesn’t mean we’re not giving it our hundred and fifty per cent

Phil Esposito, 1972

Born To Play Hockey
First Ice
The Five Truths of Shovelling
Separating The Men From The Boys
Blood, Sweat and Fools
The Salesman Wore Skates

An Oiler Till I Die
This Man Is An Islander
Those Damned Rangers
The Lunch Pail Gang and Some Good
Playing With The Great One
An Ill Wind To Chicago
Fire, Broken Windows, Stones Thrown
Like At The Bastille
Toronto Is Different

Techniques of Mayhem
Fight Or Flight
Woodchopping Galore
Grab With The Left …
What’s Wrong With My Back?
Hospitals and Hockey Can Mix
Greatest Thing Since Penicillin
Interlude With Bullets
Life Goes On

The Goalie: A Sitting Duck
Facing Four Hundred Saracens
On His Own
Shot At — 28,545 Times!
Rocket’s Hands Were Shaking Too
When Hull Shoots, I Must Not Blink

‘Skate With Me,’ She Said
Have Hockey Stick, Will Travel
Cowards Don’t Play Hockey
Where Is The Game Going?
Leaders, Bleeders, and Feeders
Last Ice
A Piece of Rubber Unites An Entire People

(An arrangement of selected chapter-titles from the books of hockey)

The hockey gods have long enjoyed tormenting New York. Something else they’ve done is take a target and place it directly over the heart of the Edmonton Oilers and their loyal fans. The hockey gods sometimes smile. Were they more friendly to the Atlanta Thrashers on the road? They are cruel. They decide to give the fans a treat. The hockey gods have appeared to do UMass a big favour. They intervene and break an old television. A return to the fundamentals can make it just a little easier for the hockey gods to smile down on you. Their wrath can surely be aroused by the Oiler flag being desecrated by falling unnoticed to the ground. Ovechkin and Crosby are a gift from them. They love hubris. They send down a mischievous elf. They anointed Tim Horton when he was 17. They smiled on Ron Ellis by allowing him to be picked for Team Canada in 1972. They pop the puck free. They have a half a heart. The hockey gods don’t tolerate the actions of goons anymore. Maybe they don’t want the Flint Generals to reach the .500 mark, but they gave the Boston Bruins a stay of execution. They can be thanked for Cristobal Huet. They never intended for the Cup to end up in Texas. Craig Conroy was pleading to them for a lucky break. A worthy sacrifice to them is a parakeet that went nuts at every whistle during St. Louis Blues games on TV and after a particularly raucous playoff game against Chicago, the poor little bird had a heart attack and died. Only the hockey gods know the potential of the Phoenix Coyotes. “Sometimes the hockey gods are funny,” says Mark Crawford. “They’re very fickle.” An example of their interference is when they sprinkled some kind off magical dust over the NHL schedule-makers so that Wayne Gretzky would arrive in Edmonton one point shy of becoming the NHL’s all-time leading scorer. The hockey gods have flowing robes and gnarled faces, by one account.

twenty-four ways of looking at Guy Lafleur

A resilient, indestructible warrior
the 10-year-old stripling
the little man who could fire the puck with amazing velocity
in a perfect imitation of Bobby Hull
the sensitive right-winger
the young sharpshooter
the Thurso kid
the talent-laden athlete
the 25-year-old Canadiens hireling
some sort of enigma?
a torrential scorer
the peaceful hockey player
the indestructible athlete
a counterfeit hero
the ferocious skater
not made of papier-mâché
the uncontested master
a little boy lost
a perfectionist
the little devil
something of a hockey maniac

• collected from Claude Larochelle’s
Guy Lafleur: Hockey’s #1 (1978)

As a boy,
Billy Burch took his skates to bed
at night.
He did this so often that taking

a sort of tradition.

The Morning Leader, October 31, 1925.